Happy Birthday to us! It’s Versions Galore’s 4th anniversary and we’re celebrating this month by letting some very special guests behind the cover versions controls…
When people wax nostalgic about music from the 80s, the reality is is that there were really two parallel 80s. For the masses there was the pop drivel of Debbie Gibson, Phil Collins, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Air Supply, and yes, even Olivia Newton John. But for a smaller segment of us, those misfits in the yearbook with the black shirts and asymmetrical hair of varying colors, we moved to a different soundtrack. Our rockstars were a disparate lot: PiL, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Sonic Youth, The Cure, English Beat, Love & Rockets, Jesus & Mary Chain and the list goes on. What most of the kiddies these days can’t wrap their head around is that there was no internet, no iTunes. If we we’re lucky our local Tower Records might have the NME or Melody Maker (our music Bibles) to peruse and then we had to dig, borrow and often plunk down double the money for costly imports. Still for a lot of us looking back it was THE golden age of music and no one keeps those days alive better in my opinion than today’s guest DJ, Slicing Up Eyeballs. Named from a line of a Pixies track, Slicing is the premier site for all music 80s (OUR 80s that is), including any new projects that our now, slightly greyer, slightly paunchier, but no less ambitious, favorite artists are up to. And with that i’m going to hand the reins over Slicing Up Eyeballs….
Here is his mix:
VERSIONS GALORE 4TH ANNIVERSARY GUEST MIX N° 5:
SLICING UP EYEBALLS
And here is what he had to say:
Covers seem to be a love/hate kind of thing, and I’ve always been firmly in the former camp. I like nothing better than hearing one of my favorite artists tackle someone else’s work, or vice versa. Plus, covers helped turn me into a record collector, back in those heady pre-Internet days when it actually took some effort to hunt down rare B-sides or vinyl-only EPs. These are some of my favorite covers by my favorite ‘80s college-rock artists, as well as a few more contemporary acts dipping their toes into that era.
- Matt Sebastian, founder/editor of Slicing Up Eyeballs: The Legacy of ‘80s College Rock
David Bowie – I’ve Been Waiting For You (Neil Young)
I may run a site dedicated ‘80s alternative artists, but Neil Young is quite possibly my all-time favorite musician. This is a great early song of his, and it was hard to choose between David Bowie’s cover and the Pixies’ version. Bowie’s has a bit more punch.
Ted Leo/Pharmacists – Six Months in a Leaky Boat (Split Enz)
Fell in love with this version after seeing Ted Leo play it at South By Southwest around 2004. He gives it great power-punk energy that now feels missing from the original, although I still love Split Enz’s version. It’s also where Leo got the title for the Pharmacists’ second album.
Primal Scream – Darklands (The Jesus and Mary Chain)
Love this just for the full-circleness of the whole thing; Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie played drums in the Jesus and Mary Chain on ‘Psychocandy,’ and here, a dozen years later, he covers the brilliant title track from the Mary Chain’s sophomore LP.
Depeche Mode - Route 66 (Nat King Cole)
This is one of the first covers I ever fell for; it was played incessantly on 91X in San Diego back in ’88 (and beyond, probably), and I had to search out the import ‘Behind the Wheel’ 12-inch just to get it. As a kid who grew up with cassettes, this was my entry into vinyl collecting.
The Damned – Alone Again Or (Love)
Another early favorite, and one of those songs that I didn’t know was a cover for an inexplicably long time. When I finally heard Love’s classic original, it sounded a bit quaint, but I’ve grown to really, er, love ‘Forever Changes.’
The House of Love – Pink Frost (The Chills)
One of those occasions when a criminally underrated band covers an even more underrated band’s song – and it’s a perfect fit. Pure indie-pop heaven.
U2 – Dancing Barefoot (Patti Smith)
I used to be a huge U2 fan, and this is one of the ‘Rattle & Hum‘ B-sides – which, as a whole, were just as great as the stuff that made it onto that unfairly maligned album. Features what may be my favorite solo by The Edge.
New Order – Turn the Heater On (Keith Hudson)
This may be the only cover New Order ever recorded; it’s a song originally by Keith Hudson, aka “The Dark Prince of Reggae,” that the group put down during a Peel session in 1982. Would love to hear Peter Hook play more dub.
Pixies - Winterlong (Neil Young)
This one is doubly special: My favorite Neil Young song covered by one of my absolute favorite bands, which is why it was my wife and I’s choice for our wedding song 10 years ago.
The Replacements – Monkey Gone to Heaven (Pixies)
This one’s a studio goof: The ‘Mats having a little fun with the ‘Doolittle’ classic during the recording of ‘Don’t Tell a Soul.’
Suede – Brass in Pocket (The Pretenders)
Not my favorite cover, but just the excuse I needed to slip another one of my favorite bands – and the true kings of Britpop – into this mix.
The Great Book of John – Never Tear Us Apart (INXS)
I’d never heard of The Great Book of John before their label sent me this cover last year, and honestly, I still don’t know much about them. But this is one of the best re-interpretations of a classic song I’ve ever heard. It’s brilliant.
The Cure - Hello, I Love You (Slight Return) (The Doors)
Back in 1990, Elektra Records asked bands on its current roster to cover the label’s classic acts for a compilation called ‘Rubáiyát,‘ and The Cure delivered three versions of this Doors hit (only two made it onto the comp). This is how Elektra closed out the 2-disc set.
The Flaming Lips – Unmade Bed/No Quarter (Sonic Youth/Led Zeppelin)
Not sure how it ever occurred to the Flaming Lips to merge this latter-day Sonic Youth album cut with one of Led Zeppelin’s murkiest tunes, but it totally works.
Echo & The Bunnymen - Paint It Black (Rolling Stones)
Another early favorite, and another example of radio play leading me to hunt down a 12-inch (in this case, it’s on the ‘Bedbugs and Ballyhoo’ single) just to get this live cut (they also do great takes on Television’s ‘Friction’ and the Velvet Underground’s ‘Run Run Run’ on this single). Like the Depeche Mode 12-inch, this one’s still in my collection.
Erasure – Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
And another full-circle thing: Erasure, featuring, of course, Depeche Mode co-founder Vince Clarke, takes a stab at DM’s earliest hit, and one that, in retrospect, sounds more like what we expect from Erasure these days than Depeche Mode.
Morrissey - That’s Entertainment (The Jam)
This cover always takes me back to the first time I saw Morrissey, at his first-ever U.S. solo concert in San Diego in 1991. It was an insane show with one of the wildest crowds I’ve ever seen, and Moz ended the main set with a roaring take on this Jam classic.
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PS Be sure to grab:
GUEST MIX N° 1 here…
GUEST MIX N° 2 here…
GUEST MIX N° 3 here…
GUEST MIX N° 4 here…